Samsung Galaxy had many things going for them until they were obliterated by SKT T1 in the second round of the playoffs. In the end, they were brought down by the same lack of side lane firepower that plagued them during the regular season. Combine that with Crown’s string of shaky performances, and Samsung are very far from their best form at the moment. The question is, can they pull it together?
Afreeca Freecs come into this match after a hard-fought Bo5 against MVP. And while they did walk away with the win, you can’t help but think they’ve shown a bit too much in that series. Their Draven and jungle Lulu picks won’t catch Samsung off guard and the fact Afreeca were pushed to the brink by the middling MVP lineup certainly doesn’t bode well for them either.
Top Lane Matchup
SSG CuVee has always been in the ‘good, but not great’ niche. With a 3.5 KDA and 8.8 CS per minute over the regular split, he finds himself in the upper echelon of the LCK top laners, but a far cry from the best players in the league.
AFS MaRin is his polar opposite. His 2.8 KDA and 9.0 CS per minute might not reflect it, but he’s still one of the most dominant top laners in the competition, and he’s bound to put CuVee to a test.
Verdict: AFS MaRin finds a win in the top lane.
It’s been interesting to observe the evolution of Afreeca’s jungle. With a 3.1 KDA and 4.4 CS per minute, Spirit went from a tried and tested veteran to a wildcard with a number of pocket picks at his disposal. Unfortunately, he’s already shown his hand in the series against MVP. As for Mowgli (2.7 KDA and 4.1 CS per minute), he’s yet to find his footing and become anything other than an emergency substitute.
Samsung’s junglers have been incredibly dominant in comparison. Sporting a 3.8 KDA and 5.2 CS per minute, Ambition is the king of pathing and well-timed counter ganks. And his teammate—Haru—seamlessly pulls off one clutch play after another and has a 2.4 KDA and 5.0 CS per minute to show for his efforts.
Verdict: SSG’s Ambition and Haru claim the jungle as their own.
Mid Lane Matchup
The mid lane will come down to Crown. Holding a 3.3 KDA and 9.1 CS per minute, he’s a talented mid laner that has adopted more of a supportive role on the team. That being said his recent games are filled with uncharacteristic mistakes and misplays, which makes his very unstable against top-tier LCK mid laners.
Fortunately for him, Kuro doesn’t fall into this category. With a 4.2 KDA and 8.5 CS per minute, Afreeca’s mid laner is a seasoned veteran and a gifted teamfighter, but he doesn’t have the mechanics to put Crown on the back foot.
Verdict: SSG’s Crown finds a lead in the mid lane.
Bot Lane Matchup
Afreeca’s bottom lane has definitely made a statement with its play. Holding a 4.6 KDA and 9.8 CS per minute, Kramer is a monstrous marksman that is capable of 1v9’ing if he’s given the right tools. As for his support TusiN (3.5 KDA), he hasn’t made enough of a splash in the LCK, and his misplays often spell the beginning of Afreeca’s downfall.
Samsung’s duo has always been rock solid. With a 3.9 KDA and 9.8 CS per minute, Ruler is an utility-based AD carry that always does his job in teamfights while CoreJJ (4.8 KDA) backs him up with a wide range of playmaking picks. If you look purely at the marksmen, Kramer slightly outclasses Ruler because of his ability to perform on hypercarries. But a superior support makes Samsung’s bottom lane a much more well-rounded duo.
Verdict: SSG’s Ruler and CoreJJ edge out a win.
Building around Kramer won’t bring the desired results to Afreeca because Samsung are more than capable of playing around him. And when you consider that the only winning lane for the Freecs is the top lane, they don’t have many options to break open the game. Meanwhile, Samsung thrive in late game scenarios, and—as long as Afreeca don’t come up with more surprise picks—they’re bound to use this to score a confident 3-1 victory.
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